The Sealy boys’ soccer team went into its first playoff game against Brazosport last week focusing on defense and smart passing after losing to Waller 3-1 in their warm-up game a few days prior. For nine seniors, the possibility of playing their last game at T.J. Mills Stadium was not something they wanted to face.
The game didn’t start well for Sealy as the midfielders and defense failed to communicate effectively. The Exporters took advantage of that quickly. Brazosport went up 1-0 early in the first half while Sealy’s offense struggled to connect on passes and spent much of the game on their side of the pitch.
“That first goal, they had a free kick and I lost it in the sun because it was right in my eyes so I take full responsibility for that but on the whole, we didn’t start the game well and it put us behind,” junior keeper David Gomez said.
Sealy struggled to create scoring opportunities in the first half and as a result, went into halftime down 1-0. The lead for Brazosport quickly grew in the second half as they scored off another free-kick four minutes into the half. Gomez picked the right side the shooter chose but the kick went above him to put them up 2-0.
“I thought it was going in at more of an angle but it was more level than going up so that’s why I missed it,” Gomez said.
The Exporters added one more goal with 18 minutes left in the game to go up 3-0 which would be the final score of the game. It brought a swift end to the Tigers’ season but one head coach Juan Perez said the team showed promise throughout, something he takes note of as a large portion of the team will be returning next season.
“It’s not easy because they’re going to have to think about this and suffer from this loss for a while but they will learn from this because last year we lost 11 players so this is just part of getting more familiar with our younger guys,” Perez said. “We played pretty well at the beginning of the season so we just need to emulate what we had then.”
Gomez said that he is ready to take on the role of a leader next season as one of the team’s seniors and he wants to change the culture surrounding the team.
“I don’t want to take charge in being annoying but I want to make this team better and I just want help to be a part of that,” Gomez said. “We had a lot of good games and played some higher class teams tight and even beat Cleveland so we have a good team and we’re young so we can keep building up through the years.”
Perez said he doesn’t blame any single player for the loss and in fact felt like they had a real chance at winning against Brazosport.
“When we control the game, we normally win and we just didn’t have the control with the passes or the defense and were playing behind so it put us in a bad spot,” he said. “We played more aggressive in the second half but it wasn’t enough and I know I’ll be second-guessing myself for a few things over the season.
The team finished 10-10 on the season with a 5-3 district record which placed them third behind Royal and Stafford. The roster this past season was made up of 14 non-seniors with the expectation of all returning for the 2019 season.